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NO SMILES FOR MARTHA: Martha Stewart sure doesn’t have many fans on Wall Street today. Shares of the lifestyle diva’s company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., plunged 12 percent on Wednesday to $5.07 after the company revealed its core publishing business continues to struggle even as competing magazines show signs of a stronger heartbeat. While ad pages of the August issue of Martha Stewart Living were up 29 percent versus last year, this was against a very low base, and MSLO executives maintained a more conservative tone regarding the final four issues for 2010. A spokeswoman also didn’t comment by press time Wednesday on the September issue of the company’s flagship title. Most fashion and lifestyle magazines provided their advertising figures to WWD last week, but Martha Stewart Living declined — perhaps with good reason. During an earnings call with investors on Wednesday, the company reported operating income at the publishing division fell 30 percent to $2.1 million from $3 million a year ago, while revenues dropped almost nine percent to $30.6 million from $33.5 million, partly due to the timing of the spring issue of Martha Stewart Weddings, which this year occurred in the first quarter while in 2009 it appeared in the second. Excluding that, revenues would have been up 3 percent. Advertising revenues were $18.5 million and circulation revenues were $11.2 million. Meanwhile, MSLO’s Internet revenues rose 12 percent to $4.7 million from $4.1 million, with Web ad revenues up 13 percent compared to the prior year. Overall, MSLO reported lower net losses of $1.2 million versus $6.4 million a year before, on revenues that declined 3 percent to $55.3 million from $56.9 million. That didn’t help the shares, though. Maybe Martha should bake Wall Street some cookies?
— Amy Wicks
This story first appeared in the July 29, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
THE NOT-SO-UGLY TRUTH: Gerard Butler has signed on to be a spokesman for L’Oréal Paris Men’s Expert. The worldwide deal excludes the U.S. The Scottish actor, known for his roles in films such as “300,” “P.S. I Love You,” “RocknRolla” and “The Ugly Truth,” will front the Men’s Expert Hydra Energetic line. After “The Bounty Hunter,” Butler might need the boost.
— Brid Costello
RUSSIAN VOGUE’S NEW EDITOR: Viktoria Davydova is the new editor of Russian Vogue, succeeding Aliona Doletskaya, who has resigned after 13 years. Davydova was the launch editor of both Russian Glamour in 2004 and Russian Tatler in 2008, and she’s already begun work at Vogue, which has a circulation of 150,000. In an internal memo to staff, Jonathan Newhouse, chairman of Condé Nast International, said he accepted Doletskaya’s resignation “with sadness and reluctance.” Glamour is by far Condé Nast’s biggest title in Russia, with a circulation of 700,000. Tatler’s circulation is 120,000. Condé Nast is a wholly owned company in Russia.
— Samantha Conti
KABOODLE’S USERS TO DECIDE WHAT GOES ON SALE: Social Web site Kaboodle.com on Monday launched PopPicks, a members-only online sale platform that allows users to determine what goes on sale. Kaboodle, established in February 2006, boasts more than 1.1 million registered users with an average of 6 million to 8 million visitors a month and, according to chief marketing officer Shari Gunn, this is the first time a social Web site has allowed for community-curated e-commerce events.
“PopPicks is a natural extension to take the existing social element of the Kaboodle platform and apply it in a way so our audience can have an impact on what is going on sale,” said Gunn.
There are three steps to a PopPicks event: Kaboodle’s editorial team works with the featured retailer to select the 20 to 30 products that will be showcased, then the Kaboodle community is invited to vote on its favorite items. The most popular products will then be offered at the highest discount, allowing the community to define the sale event. By the end of this week, the top 10 items from Moxsie (the first featured retailer) will be offered at a 25 percent discount, with the remaining at 15 percent off, although this is still in the testing phase and subject to change.
— Rachel Strugatz
DREAM ON: Selena Gomez’s Dream Out Loud apparel line will launch at Kmart stores on Sunday, and the retailer is readying a major marketing push to tout what it hopes will become a $100 million juniors business in its first year. Print ads break in September issues of Teen Vogue and Seventeen, with television commercials beginning in late August. Cinema spots will also debut next month along with an online campaign on entertainment and teen-oriented Web sites. Billboards will go up in New York and Los Angeles in September. “The launch media plan is a true 360 degree campaign that has been customized to target a teen audience,” said Robin Creen, chief marketing officer for Kmart Apparel. “The TV flight is highly concentrated in music, comedy and teen drama, with a balance of prime-time and cable [shows].”
Both the print and television spots were created by ad agency Lloyd & Co. and photographed by Carter Smith. The campaign features the “Wizards of Waverly Place” star with a group of friends outdoors in a park, with the low prices of the collection prominently displayed on the visuals. Nothing in the line retails for more than $24.
“The creative stemmed from Selena’s personality and how friends and family and community are so important to her,” said Doug Lloyd, owner and creative director of Lloyd & Co. The print ads were shot in May in Budapest, where 18-year-old Gomez was filming the upcoming movie “Monte Carlo,” while the television spots were shot earlier this month on Long Island. The commercials feature Gomez’s new pop single “Round and Round” as the soundtrack.
Gomez will make personal appearances at Kmart stores next month in Los Angeles and possibly New York, added Tony Melillo, creative director of Dream Out Loud and a partner at Cynosure Holdings, the licensing and branding agency that put together the deal with Gomez and Kmart.
— David Lipke